According to the National Safety Council (NSC), overuse injuries are the most-common reason why employees miss time from work. The NSC’s data indicate that 35 percent of all disabling injuries result from overuse, far surpassing all other causes of workplace injuries. If you are concerned about an overuse injury, what do you need to know about seeking medical care? Equally important, what do you need to know about filing for workers’ compensation?
6 Key Facts for Employees with Overuse Injuries in Illinois
1. Overuse Injuries Qualify for Workers’ Compensation
First and foremost, overuse injuries qualify for workers’ compensation in Illinois. If you have suffered an overuse injury and you are otherwise eligible for benefits, you can – and should – file a claim with your employer. This includes injuries from overexertion (such as lifting or lowering a heavy object) as well as from repetitive stress (such as typing on a keyboard or working on an assembly line).
2. You Should Notify Your Employer as Soon as Possible
Under Illinois law, you must notify your employer of your injury within 45 days in order to protect your workers’ compensation eligibility. With an overuse injury, it is not always clear when this 45-day period starts to run. As a result, to protect your rights, you should notify your employer as soon as possible.
3. Pain is Usually the First Symptom of an Overuse Injury
How can you be sure that you have an overuse injury? Pain is usually the first symptom, and this pain will often worsen when performing the task that caused your injury. Your doctor should be able to provide an accurate diagnosis, and you should make an appointment to see your doctor right away.
4. If You Continue to Work, You Could Jeopardize Your Benefits
If you are aware of a potential overuse injury and you try to work through the pain, your employer’s insurance company could actually try to use this against you. If you have a serious injury, you will need medical treatment, and seeing a doctor now will help you get back to work as quickly and safely as possible.
5. You May Also Be Entitled to Rehabilitation Benefits
In addition to medical and disability benefits, under Illinois’s workers’ compensation statute, you may also be entitled to benefits for the costs of vocational rehabilitation. Recovering from an overuse injury can be a lengthy and difficult process, and maximizing your benefits will be critical to regaining your strength and mobility.
6. Securing Benefits for an Overuse Injury Isn’t Easy
Despite being among the most-common types of work-related injuries, securing workers’ compensation benefits for an overuse injury isn’t easy. Your employer’s insurance company will almost certainly challenge your claim for benefits, and you will need to be able to demonstrate that both (i) your injury is work-related, and (ii) you are unable to work as a result of your injury. The best way to maximize your benefits is to hire experienced legal representation, and your first step is to schedule a free initial consultation.
Contact Us for a Free Initial Consultation
If you are experiencing pain or other symptoms of an overuse injury and would like more information about filing for workers’ compensation, we encourage you to contact us for a free initial consultation. To speak with one of our experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys in confidence, please call (312) 795-9595 or get in touch online today.